This crazy busy world can drive us to depression, sadness, and exhaustion, if we allow ourselves to get caught up in the whirlwind. Addicted, I stayed in the storm for years because it was easier than to step out. Stepping out meant I’d have to fight the wind, and, oh my, that wind can be hard to walk into.

Getting sober is the first step into the wind. That’s the “how to” stage. Then comes the “why” stage, looking at and understanding what kept me in my addiction for so long. What I know for certain is that I had to take the time to figure out the “whys” before I’d ever be able to walk freely without the pain, guilt, and stress from my past weighing me down. I’m grateful I had the horses and Gestalt coaching to guide me through this stage.

One of my “whys” was that I was petrified to talk to people and to go into any new experience alone. The nervousness I felt in a new situation affected my whole body. I felt tension in my stomach. It would move up my body and I’d break out with a red splotchy chest. Next my neck tightened up and my voice box got all scrambled, so I couldn’t say the right thing, let alone say anything intelligently. Instead of working through the discomfort, I hid behind a bottle and kept quiet. Alcohol was the only “tool” I knew to deal with my self-consciousness.

I learned at a very young age that if I drank a little before going into a new situation, I didn’t feel as scared. When I drank for courage, I was still scared and felt self-conscious, but the alcohol helped me push myself out of my comfort zone. It loosened me up enough to pretend I wasn’t uncomfortable.

With the help of the horses and my Gestalt coach, I was able to really look at all of this and to feel into the discomfort. I acquired new understanding of myself and my “whys.” And I learned new skills and tools to help me navigate new situations without the bottle to hide behind. I know who I am today and the truth is I can get through any situation with the right mind set and spiritual guidance.

Sober and self-confident, I am now leading groups. I’m making appointments with new people to talk about my business. I even have a couple speaking appointments on my calendar. Sometimes I still feel the fear, but when I do, I work through it. I find my courage from within to be in new situations with new people with enthusiasm, because I believe in myself and know that what I have to say is important.